Wednesday, 11 March 2015

No More Olive Oil?

Its sad that so many of Italy's ancient olive trees may have to be felled due to the emergence and spread of the Xylella fastidiosa disease, which spread to Italy from the Americas, has infected up to a million trees in the southern region of Puglia.The disease is carried by aphids and there is a strong possibility of its spreading to other parts of Italy and Greece.

Last year in Abruzzo was a disaster for Olive farmers as there were very few olives worth picking. A very wet summer meant a poor crop which was then attacked by the olive flies. These pesky creatures lay their eggs in the developing buds and the maggots then hatch out in the autumn. Our trees were badly effected and  will try to collect and burn all the fallen olives this year -the only problem with this is that the Long Tailed Tits and Nuthatches love to pick the maggots out of them as they lay on the grass.

As well as being an important part of the Italian landscape these old olive groves shelter a wide range of wildlife including Little Owls, Wrynecks, Shrikes, Woodpeckers and many different warblers.

woodcut by Andrew Wddington

Shrike by Andrew Waddington
Redstart by Andrew Waddington

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